My musings about human behavior and how we can design the world around us to better accommodate real human needs.
Friday, October 19, 2012
Organizational Social Media
Another fantastic piece from
IWB..He notes that business are not nearly as good
as individuals at using social media and speculates as to the reasons why.Here is what he says, and my human factors
First, he cites a Forrester
Report which found that while many companies have social media (Facebook pages,
Twitter feeds) and many of them use it to identify customer service problems
that they can fix in a one-off way, this is hardly strategic, systematic, or
What he recommends is that
companies use social media to create an open, knowledge sharing, learning
organization that combines employees, customers, and value chain partners.But they don’t/can’t because they have tunnel
vision focused on shareholder value and have trouble expanding this to a holisitc
vision of customer value and society value.
So here is my diagnosis.Throughout my career, I have been exploring how
organizational management (both explicit and even more importantly the implicit
influence of culture and behavior) affect the metrics where employees put their
focus, what activities they spend their time on, and how much effort (physical
and cognitive) they put into each one.
The no brainer part, which we
see in jobs as diverse as space shuttle launch engineers and manual laborers, is
that employees focus most on what is being observed and evaluated.The textbook version of this is that they
focus on what drives their official performance evaluation and wages.I have been promoting the more tacit
influences of peer pressure from coworkers, cover my ass pressure from
immediate supervisors, and self-identity resonance.I believe that these have even stronger
influences, but either way they are both important.
So where does the success of
social media come in?For these
initiatives to work at the level that IWB is hoping for, it has to fit into
both kinds of drivers and saliently enough to make a difference.Public companies and even many private ones
have to maintain their quarterly earnings per share.It is just easier to use lean, six sigma, and
other cost cutting measures that have obvious and quick impact on the bottom line.How, when, where, and for whom is creating a
learning organization going to do this?And how will we know?And how
will we know who to give credit to?Or
more importantly, how will mgmt. know to give ME the credit?
Here is where we need to
implement serious human factors.I
envision a performance dashboard that helps employees visualize how a simple
task today could propagate over time into a tangible benefit.It would have to be stochastic because you
never know for sure that a good tweet is going to bring a customer back.Or helping a co-worker in another department
deal with an internal issue.Or sharing
a lesson learned on one project with a supplier working on a different project
for a different customer.
What would this look like?I need a little time (years?) to spec
something like this out.But I suspect
something along these lines is needed to reach IWB (and my) hopes for changing
organizational performance for holistic, integrated, strategic social media.